FACT CHECK: Did The Vatican Confirm Pope Francis Has The Novel Coronavirus?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

An article shared on Facebook claims the Vatican confirmed that Pope Francis and two top aides tested positive for the novel 2019 coronavirus.

Verdict: False

There’s no evidence that Pope Francis has contracted the novel coronavirus. The Vatican has denied his illness is anything other than a “slight illness.”

Fact Check:

Pope Francis cancelled some engagements after he was seen coughing and blowing his nose during Ash Wednesday Mass on Feb. 29. (RELATED: Viral Image Claims To Show A Chinese Coronavirus Hospital In Wuhan)

The website MCM News published an article alleging Pope Francis and two aides tested positive for the novel respiratory virus. It comes as the coronavirus outbreak in Italy has sickened some 3,089 people and killed some 107 others.

But the Daily Caller didn’t find any credible media reports about the pope contracting the novel coronavirus. Nor does a press release confirming a coronavirus diagnosis for the pope or his aides appear on the Vatican’s website.

The Vatican has denied the claim and described Pope Francis as having a “slight illness” without giving further details. Matteo Bruni, a Vatican spokesman, told reporters that “there is no evidence that would lead to diagnosing anything but a mild indisposition.”

The 83-year-old pontiff, who lost a lung to an illness as a young man, made his first public appearance since his “slight illness” on March 1, according to Reuters.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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